The UN on Thursday said the estimated number of people displaced by the severe drought ravaging several parts of Somalia has risen to over 714,000 since November 2016.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said in its latest report that 65 per cent of those displaced were under 18 years old.
“The triple impact of drought, insecurity and disease outbreaks has prompted internal displacement.
“It also exposed vulnerable groups such as women, children and female-headed households to the risk of gender-based violence, forceful conscription and abduction’’, OCHA said.
The UN humanitarian agency said May has seen a significant decrease in the numbers of newly displaced across all regions in Somalia.
“UNHCR-led Protection and Return Monitoring Network (PRMN), attributes this on the one hand to people remaining to plant following rains in much of Somalia, and on the other hand to logistical constraints as rains have made many roads impassable.
“Families are prevented from moving as their remaining livestock is too weak to cover distances or to be sold.
“UNHCR and PRMN partners are monitoring the situation’’, OCHA said.
The number of Somalis in need of humanitarian assistance has increased to 6.7 million, over half the population of the country, as the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in spite of rains, which are below average in all areas.
The UN agency said the ongoing drought also increases risk of famine-induced displacement in the region.
Non-state armed actors have reportedly mounted more check points and intensified raids on villages in the region, particularly in Afgoye, Aw Dhegle and Marka districts, areas also affected by the current drought.
To respond to the growing needs, humanitarian partners in Somalia have revised the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2017.
The revised HRP which was presented at the London Somalia Conference on May 11 sought 1.5 billion dollars to reach 5.5 million people with life-saving assistance in 2017.